December 2014

St. Francis Bulletin

From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Pet. 3:9

We find ourselves once again in the season of Advent which is the traditional precursor to the celebration of Christmas.  As I get older and I tend to focus less on Baby Jesus and more on Christ the King, my thoughts tend to dwell more on the second coming of Jesus than his first.  I don’t want to make light of the celebration of Christmas by any means.  The Incarnation is the sign of our redemption which allows us to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The subject of the second coming is a difficult one and, I’m afraid, one that many people shy away from.  It is one of those subjects that diligent Bible readers and even Scripture scholars often use the same texts to come to opposite conclusions.  After years of searching those texts I must admit that I do not have extreme clarity on the subject.

One thing is certain.  Christ will come again, this time in glory and majesty.  And his coming is something for which we should yearn.  For those who have come to him and have asked him to be their personal savior, his coming again should be a cause for excitement, wonder and awe.  There is no liturgical celebration for the second coming.  One will not be necessary.   For it will be the fulfillment of everything we have hoped for in our Christian lives.  It will also be the end of sin, suffering, and death.  I suppose that what I am asking of you this Christmas is to broaden the scope of your Christmas anticipation.  To see Advent in a new perhaps more significant way for us as adult Christians who look for and long for the coming of Jesus with a heightened anticipation.  The Lord will come for us all, whether individually or collectively and we want to be ready for that.  Spend some time this Advent anticipating and even longing for the Lord to come.  It will be time well spent.

Of course, we will celebrate Christmas as we always do.  On Wednesday evening, December 24, beginning at 8:00 pm we will celebrate Lessons and Carols followed by Holy Communion.  Our Christmas Eve celebrations are always lovely.  Paula, Amy and the choir are usually joined by extra musicians who add to the wonderful service.  On Christmas morning, we will have another Holy Communion service at 10:00 am.  Although not as lengthy as the evening before, we still sing music of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Many of our parishioners come to both services.  Some only come to one.  But if you intend to be in town this year, please try to join us for service on Wednesday, Thursday or both.  You will be glad you did and so will the Lord.

Because Christmas falls on a Thursday this year, there will be no Evening Prayer on December 25.

I know that I asked that all of your pledges be in by the first of December.  Since that almost never happens, I would ask that if you have not yet turned in your pledge card for 2015, please do so at your earliest convenience.  The Vestry will discuss the budget for the coming year at the December 8 meeting and it is really important that we have some idea of what we will be dealing with in the coming year.  Thanks once again for your past generosity and for your pledge this year.

Sunday School News
Missy Bernard

The fall has gone by so quickly!  The children have enjoyed learning about the creation, Noah, Abraham, and Isaac in our weekly lessons.  We will pause the One Room Sunday School curriculum for Advent, which begins November 30th.  As always, we will make wreaths in class for the children to take home, along with Advent devotional booklets for family prayer.  All children love Christmas, and celebrating Advent brings the family together as children learn the true meaning of "waiting."  We look forward to lighting the candles together!  

Doug Cooper has been working with the older youth on the Decalogue.  They are coming along well and getting to know each other better.  Much laughter can be heard from both classrooms each week!

Sunday school will break December 28th and resume on January 4th for a lesson about Epiphany. 

Operation Christmas Child Boxes
Missy Bernard

Thank you so much to everyone who donated gift items and funds for the annual Operation Christmas Child shoe box drive.  You are always so generous.  We packed 75 shoe boxes on November 16th!  This is a record for St. Francis.  The children worked together so well and really enjoyed it.  

Please pray for the children who will be receiving these special boxes.  As well as gifts, they contain a copy of the Gospel in the child’s own language, and lighten young hearts all over the world with the message of God's love at Christmastime.  Thank you again for all your support of this beloved ministry.

"Adopting" Families in Need

Dear St. Francis Family,
     As we go forward in Advent, solemnly yet eagerly anticipating the birth of our savior, the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center celebrates the birth of every child whose mother chose life.

The APRC has told us of two mothers who need some extra help this Christmas.  One mother has four children and another eight.  Anglicans for Life has "adopted" these two families and is collecting funds to ensure that each of our twelve children gets a small gift and an article of clothing for Christmas.

If you can give a small monetary gift, it will mean Christmas for children who won't have much of it without us.

I will be around during and after both services if you wish to donate on November 30.
Thank you,
Claire Carter

Becky Hunt

For the duration of Advent from November 30 through December 21st, there will be no flowers on the altar.  This bareness will be in strong contrast with the 12 days of Christmas and on into Epiphany when the altar and the entire church will be beautifully decorated with flower and poinsettias.  If you wish to make a donation for the poinsettias as a remembrance, memorial or thank offering, please use an envelope from the table at the back of the Sanctuary to enclose your donation.  Fill the envelope front out as appropriate and place in the wooden box on the same table.

5th Sunday Activities
Amy Crandell

Join us on November 30 for the potluck luncheon after the 11:00 service.  Plan to bring a dish to share and enjoy the company of your St. Francis friends.

On the same day, from 3:30 -4:30 pm, a small group will gather at the Retirement and Nursing Center at 6909 Burnet Lane for an hour of hymn singing, prayers and Bible readings.  Please come and check out this outreach activity of St. Francis. T

Phoebe Hughes

The Anglicans for Life group is taking a break from meeting in December with our next meeting on Sunday, January 18, after the 11:00 service.  As always, everyone is invited to join us.  

We are still collecting diapers, sizes 3, 4 and 5 for the Austin Pregnancy and Resource Center. The ARPC is a local non-profit organization that provides answers to the tough questions a pregnancy brings as well as provides accurate information about all of the options available to a pregnant woman.  The need for diapers never goes away.  You have been very generous.  Thank you.

Prayer Walk
Amy Crandell

The monthly prayer walk is on December 6.  Join us in the fellowship area at 9 am for a time of prayer before heading out to the our new property at 3401 Oak Creek Drive, Austin, Texas 78727 to pray for the construction and walk part of the surrounding neighborhood, praying as the spirit leads us.  We are finished by 11:00 am.  Kim and David Norris lead the group.  Give them a call at 281.923.9028 with any questions.

Prayer Shawl Ministry
Charlotte Ready

Ever since the Prayer Shawl Ministry was started last summer, several members of the congregation have stepped up to either knit/crochet a prayer shawl or to provide financial assistance with purchasing the skeins of yarn used to make each shawl.  Due to some prolific crocheting and knitting, eleven shawls have been created with nine given to those who are in need of healing. 

This is a comment from one of the recipients:  "It is a comfort to have all the prayers around me and help to relieve the pain. Your group does a wonderful service and I can't thank you enough."

As a reminder, the shawls are prayed over before and during the time of knitting/crocheting. In addition, the shawls are blessed before being given to the recipient. Anyone who knits or crochets, or wants to learn to knit or crochet, can volunteer to create a shawl. If you want to help but knitting/ crocheting is not an option, you can donate to help procure yarn and gift bags.  If you would like to participate in this comforting and important ministry, please contact me at

New Jurisdiction Search
Amy & Jim Crandell

As part of the process to find a new jurisdiction for St. Francis, a committee under the leadership of Doug Cooper has researched options for us to consider.  The "Cooper Committee" as it was immediately known at the parish meeting in September, consists of St. Francis members Doug Cooper, Phoebe Hughes, John Hatley, Jim Crandell, Ed Sandlin and Anne Idsal. These six members took a look at over 20 continuing Anglican churches and chose five that matched the criteria identified as desirable for a new jurisdiction:
  1. A parish is allowed to own and control their property.
  2. A parish can use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer for worship.
  3. They agree with the Jerusalem Declaration.
  4. Respect the 39 Articles.
  5. Marriage is defined to be between one man and one woman.
  6. They are pro-life.
  7. Women are not ordained to the priesthood.
  8. Geographic proximity is considered.
They were pleased with what they found - five organizations fit the criteria:
  • The Anglican Catholic Church
  • The Diocese of Fort Worth
  • The Reformed Episcopal Church
  • Anglican Province of Christ the King
  • Diocese of the Holy Cross
At the November parish meeting, a short report was made on each of the above organizations and questions were answered.

The committee was next tasked with calling every member of the parish to be sure to hear everyone's concerns and questions before they proceed any further. By now, you should have received a phone call to gather your input.

Eventually, the committee will make a recommendation to the vestry who will call a parish meeting where the members of the congregation vote on the final decision. 

Advent in the Home
Amy Crandell

Christmas has increasingly become a holiday cut off from its purpose of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, important for Christians to recapture the season of Advent as a time for preparing for Christmas. An Advent wreath service takes only a few minutes each night, yet it can become a wonderful time to center oneself or the whole family with a nightly remembrance of Christ’s Incarnation and promised return. It is a time to celebrate God’s promise to always be with us.

If you would like to bring a little Advent to your home, pick up the pamphlet, Advent in the Home from the back pew.  The pamphlet includes an explanation of the Advent wreath, how to create a Jesse Tree, how to build the Nativity in stages, as well as the service complete with daily lessons.

Christmas Services 
Amy Crandell

Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 8 pm
  • Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion.  Come early to hear the special prelude music by a string quartet.  The choir is preparing anthems, solos and descants to the hymns.  All this adds to the joyous celebration.
Christmas Party, Dec. 24, about 9:30 pm
  • Stay a few minutes after the service to enjoy Christmas treats and conversation.
Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 10 am
  • Holy Communion with music.  A quieter, but just as joyful service.

Newsletter Submissions
Newsletter articles are gladly accepted for inclusion in the next month's newsletter. E-mail to by the 20th of the month.

10435 Burnet Road, #125
Austin, TX 78758

December Calendar

    9:30 am, Holy Communion (said service)
    9:30 am, Sunday school for Youth (except Dec. 28)
    10 am, Choir Practice (except Dec. 28)
    11 am, Holy Communion with music. On the first Sunday, this service is sung Morning Prayer with Holy Communion.

12:00 pm Noon, Anglican Rosary

7 pm, Evening Prayer (except Dec. 25)

1st Friday, December 5
7 pm, Games Night

1st Saturday, December 6
9 am, Prayer Walk

2nd Monday, December 8
5:30 pm, Vestry Meeting 

3rd Thursday, December 18
12 pm, Mothers' Prayer Group

Christmas Eve, December 24
8 pm, Lessons and Carols and Holy Communion
9:30 pm, Christmas Party

Christmas Day, December 25
10 am, Holy Communion with music

December Birthdays
3      Brian Glenn
5      James Rambin
10    Cindy Phillips
14    Mildred Farris
18    Angie McCown
19    Dinah Arce
30    Genevieve Hatley

December Anniversaries 
21    Kyle & Leanne Read  
30    Arthur & Audrey Woodgate  

December Readings
12/7 - Advent 2
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85
2 Peter 3:8-15, 18
Mark 1:1-8

12/14 - Advent 3
Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 126
1 Thess 5:12-28
John 1:6-8, 19-28

12/21 - Advent 4
2 Samuel 7:4, 8-16
Psalm 132:8-15
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38    12/24

Christmas Eve
Isaiah 9:2-7
Luke 1:5 - 2:20
John 1:1-18

12/25 - Christmas Day
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-20

12/28 - Holy Innocents
Jeremiah 31:15-17
Psalm 124
Revelation 21:1-7
Matthew 2:13-18

Printed Copies
Printed copies of the newsletter are available on the table at the entrance to our space.  If you receive a mailed copy as well as this electronic copy of the newsletter, you can elect to have only one version sent to you and pick up a paper copy at the church.  Let Amy Crandell know either in person or by e-mailing her.  

   The Rev. Canon Len Giacolone 
Music Director and Organist
   Paula Blaha

Lay Leadership
Vestry Members
  Senior Warden, Mark Rambin
  Junior Warden, Keith Harrell
  Treasurer, Michael Ready
  Secretary, Jim Crandell
  Grady Collins, Doug Cooper, Carole
  Martin, Don St. Martin, Fr. Len
  James Glomb, Ray Merrill,  Wade   Noelke, Ed Sandlin,  Arthur           Woodgate
Altar Guild 
  Becky Hunt
Anglicans for Life
  Phoebe Hughes
Anglican Rosary
  Becky Hunt
Austin City Prayer Walk
  David and Kim Norris
  Amy Crandell
Christian Education for Youth
  Missy Bernard & Doug Cooper
Evening Prayer
  Jim Crandell
Home Group Hosts
  Claire Ducker, Anne Idsal,
  Kim & David Norris
  Kim and David Norris
Intercessory Prayer Group
  Fr. Len and Nancy Giacolone
Mothers' Prayer Group
  Charlotte Ready
Newsletter & Bulletin Editor 
  Amy Crandell
  Missy Bernard & Grace Rowse

Prayer Shawl Ministry
  Charlotte Ready
  Mark Rambin
St. Claire's Guild
  Eileen Cole
  Al Parker
  Jim Crandell
Women of the Church
  Leanne Read
5th Sunday Nursing Home Service
  Amy & Jim Crandell

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